Thursday, March 31, 2011

The beat rolls on.

No ill effects from yesterday's impromptu swipe test so I decided to train as planned today; more swipes with the 15 lb clubs and snatch Vo2 in the garage.

As per usual in California it decided to switch from winter to summer in one day so it was pretty steamy in the garage( 86 deg) and I remembered well the problems I had before when trying to do snatch vo2 into high sets: TOO MUCH SWEATING all over everything,lol.

I resorted to double sweat bands, head bands,multiple bells ( to switch out when I sweated on them) and it didn't help much. I've decided if I have to take a break to towel off no biggie. I want to battle my conditioning not the sweat.

Today wasn't too bad but I can see where it's going.

5:30-6 am stretchout

1pm two clubbell swipe test with 15 lbers

one warmup set of 10 with the 10's then right to it!
Despite having done 100 yesterday these felt good from the start and I knew I could get my fifty as soon as I got going. definitely I have to make sure not to get greedy and push things too fast across the board. Especially now as I have some non travel down time and want to make some solid progress in my training.

Make Haste Slowly :))

2pm Stones Gym San Jose

Snatch Vo2 15:15

one warmup set with 14 kg for 5/5 then into it too

16kg x 32 sets of 7 reps
224 reps
8064 lbs
16 min work

these felt alright but I could feel the fatigue in my arms from yesterday's and today's high reps swipes. the bell speed stayed fine but I didn't want to do more.
I will have to alternate which exercise goes first from now on so I don't overtrain either the swipes or the snatches.The arms feel heavy now,lol.

( ...pumped :))

Wind was very good and teshnik felt solid also. I finally feel like I have a solid bottom position in this move to be able to both shock absorb and rebound out of. That's one of the things that makes Tracy able to snatch so fast and with such power is that she really can reverse and produce force out of the bottom of her swing AND her kb snatch.

It's taken me forever to find it, as usual.

Oh yes, I took my first ice shower today in ages. Just about 60 seconds but at least I could make myself do it. When I read Tim Ferris's book I knew I wanted to get back into some cold water immersion but just couldn't even CONCEIVE of it this winter, where I froze my ass off :))

But I also knew that I would love it when this city starts to cook and it was great although the speed of which it raises your heart rate is shocking.
Definitely cooled me off quickly though!

Recover is everything. You can only train as hard as you can recover from on a regular basis so this will be a new focus for me now.

Now that I can actually "train" a bit again. Nutrition, mental prep, peacefulness, mind control, and continuing to keep stretching and making sure I keep working towards my foundation goal of square, plump and neutral all over and stay injury free.

Well at least as much as this old frame can be:))

Rest and some serious stretching tonite and tomorrow and then lots of swings on saturday!

datsit :))

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Five Minute Swipe Test

Had an unexpected cancellation this morning and what to do with the time? Normally I would just stretch out but I have been thinking about doing a five minute clubbell swipe test since I did such an easy 50 reps last week and stopped myself.

I was going to do it tomorrow but felt so good I figured I could do the test and still have plenty of time to stretch out. I've done 300 continuous with this light weight but that was eons ago.

I decided to do it cold, no warmup at all and I forgot chalk but really didn't need it. It was very easy for me; I wish the five minute snatch test, even with the 16 kg was this easy,lol. But this is a very natural move for me. I even got a nice sprint in to the finish. Just like old times :))

Tomorrow I will shoot for 50 with the 15's and then work up to 100 with the 15's again before doing the same with the 20's.

Not too long ago two days after returning from being on my feet for 12 plus hours three days straight would have meant no training at all for a week and being in serious physical pain the whole time.

This is much better.:))

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back in the saddle

Man it's been a very busy three months! So much has happened so fast and we have been all over the place for so long it's hard to imagine that it's pretty much done- for now. At least the traveling that is,lol. At least until August and we get to go to Hungary again. But that's a way's off and now I can settle into a stable schedule again and let my training really take off.

After this last weekend's whirlwind of RKC Re Certs, HKC and seminar and too many 13 + hour days I knew today would be a tough one and it was.I didn't taper for the weekend work as I usually would but I was just feeling too good to back off and it was no problem.

Except for being super sore today, lol. Before I started training. But I was also anxious to get back to regular training and today is my favorite day: I get to train with my wife and it's my favorite workout of the week- long cycle clean and presses.

6 am stretchout;

usual suspects with most emphasis on opening up very tight hamstrings, hip flexors and most especially LATS ,lol. Go figure.Shoulders were nice and creaky.

one arm swings+ transfers 16kg x 5/5/5 x 3
cleans -5/5/ x2

Long cycle clean and press
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x 4/4
24 kg x5/5 x 4 sets

not bad at all and at the end I was finally starting to warmup but I knew I didn't need any more overhead work today.The bell moved well and felt light

Two clubbell Swings
10 lbs x 20 x2
15 lbs x 15 x2
20 lbs x 15 x1

really felt I needed these to help traction my elbows and activate my rotator cuff. Just what I needed felt very solid after

One CB arm casts
20 lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x10/10 x 3

wow, I was starting to gas.time to step down. Sr RKC Peter Lakatos equates traveling and the state of being overtrained. I think he's right on. Of course Hungary to US is not San Jose to Seattle but it's still a small version of the same phenomenon.

Bodyblade laterals

3 sets of 7 each arm

Datsit. Back in the saddle :))

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

" This is what un injured people must feel like."

I blew out my knee in a tumbling accident at age 17 and have had to deal with that and other serious injuries ever since. I am 54. That is a long time to have such a physical career and life and figure out how to work around joints that never worked right.

Looking back now things really weren't too bad until I was 33 and started powerlifting. As much as I learned from that extensive study of the world of extreme and absolute strength it cost me. Having to make my asymmetrical body conform to the rules of a sport it wasn't built for is what pushed me over the line. Squatting below 90 degrees with a knee that only bent 85 on a good day put way too much load on the spine.

Add in all the crazy ass round back lifting we did to get stronger also put crazy loads on my spine. Oh, and the crazy ass heavy loads we lifted just in the classical lifts were the icing on the cake :))
orthopedic-ally speaking.

So it's been along time since I could just go in the gym, train hard and not expect to pay some heavy duty price for the privilege of trying to get stronger and more enduring.

But lately it's been just the opposite. I did a great heavy workout yesterday and woke up this morning ready to go again, Even at the crazy 6 am hour which is the earliest I have 'trained' inn forever.Besides stretching that is.

So, back to back days, early morning training AND a double split workout with snatch vo2 at the end today!

Woo Hoo. And, nothing felt like it was going to tear or fall off afterwards either.

It was a gamble considering I have to fly to Seattle tomorrow for three straight days of non stop Hardstyle KB teaching and training. But it seemed like a good bet and I still think I'm right.

My body just feels differently these days. I just need a new knee( pun intended) and that will make the final difference.


6 am 30 minute stretchout then

Two Clubbell rockits
10's x 40 reps x 3 sets
15's x 30 reps x 3 sets
20's x 20 reps x 2 sets

Two Clubbell Swings
10's x 15, 20
15's x 12, 15
20's x 10,100

Two Clubbell swipes
10's x 50 reps 2:30 sec

These went great and I kept the rest periods down.Serious quad burner with the rockits. These moves are so much easier for me than kbs that's for sure. I did the 50 reps no problem and was seriously going to do 100 when my brain kicked in and remembered what I had to do this weekend and what I did yesterday. But 100 will fall very soon and then with the 15's as well.

Man, I LOVE being able to write that :)) I love feeling, even just a little bit, like the old me. All these years of stretching and correctives and searching for square, plumb and neutral is finally paying off.
And damn, I earned it.

2 pm

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
28 sets of 7 reps
196 reps
7056 lbs

Really didn't want to do this one as I was beat from the early start and training and then seven consecutive privates. And it was cold and rainy but there was really no reason not too but laziness so out to Stones gym and it went great. Hey it was barely 15 minutes.

Last week I did 25 sets of 6 and 7 sets of 7. Today ALL sevens and it was no problem. Taking some time off max vo2 obviously did some good. I like to go hard and fast and that's exactly what Snatch Vo2 is all about

Tomorrow off to Seattle and a SERIOUS Hardstyle weekend! Can't wait.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

" I get to train again"

That's what I thought last night before I went to sleep and the first thing this morning when I woke up. I spent SO long jacked up and having rehab be my "training" that actually being able to train for real is such a joy.

To be able to ramp up each exercise each week and not break down with regularity, to be able to push a bit during the exercises and not suffer negative consequences is more than a blessing,it's a miracle. Because I love to train; I love to move, strongly, smooth and with strength, power and confidence. To feel that strength, power and confidence grow each week as my training workload goes up in either volume or intensity or ramp down not because I am tweaked again, but because I had such a good workout last time I know I need to step down so I don't fall.

Ed Coan always talked about how he knew he could make the weights that were on the schedule for this week because of how strong he made his weights the last week and today's were just a little bit more. He always succeeded and that made it even easier to succeed again.

Many don't like small jumps in their training cycle but I love them. They are almost invisible to me mentally and this gives me great confidence when I am under the load;which could be THE key to lifting heavy weights.

I used 2.5 lb plates all the time to continually set pr's on my max effort days when I was powerlifting.Just five total pounds but if you don't miss much it adds up fast in the intervening weeks and months of a training cycle

And I believe the real secret it consistency so they REALLY add up when you don't miss training sessions.

With my KB's I don't have such tiny jumps but after manhandling the 24 kg last week in my long cycle clean and press I kept saying to myself that the 28kg is JUST ten pounds more. What the hell is ten pounds and why would I let it intimidate me?

I wouldn't and that made all the difference. You must lift the weight in your mind first or you can't lift it in the gym. I've known that for many many years as I gymnast but Ed really brought this home to me as a powerlifter. And I didn't forget that lesson now as a kb athlete because strength is strength, no matter where or how it is expressed and many of the same lessons apply.

Especially when it is heavy. Or you THINK it is heavy.

It's all easy til it's heavy right? lol.

I am NOT being greedy these days and never know what the workload will really be until I get going but it's been a pretty steady accounting these days and for that I truly give thanks. I LOVE to feel strong and train hard. It's what I live for.

What I've lived for almost all my life and it still works for me. It's just been a long break .I am a patient man.Consistency trumps intensity but it also creates intensity, just over the long haul.

It's also nice not to train scared. Scared like the next rep might cause your back to explode or some basic muscles is going to tear off type of scared. And still know you have to do something and even the lightest, stupidest, easiest for almost everybody else in the world movement might have the exact same effect as a medium heavy lift.

When you're between a rock and a hard place sometimes the only way to go is up:))


6-7 am stretchout

Focus on side splits, lat openers and overhead stick work. Also back to doing Paul Chek style quadraped horse stance stability work with both ankles in dorsiflexion and this is really helping my left ankle mobility which would have to come up A LOT to get to sucks.

8 am with my training partner and Queen

two clubbell swings 10 lbs x 20 reps x 2
one arm swings 16 kg x5/5/5 transfers x3
one arm cleans 16 kg x5/5/3/3

long cycle clean and press
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x3/3
24 kg x 2/2

28 kg x2/2
x4/4 PR ladder!

wow, did NOT expect this.even though I feel the 28 kg is an everday pressing weight this is where the rubber hits the road for me now in the press and where my perception of 'heavier' and 'respect' kick in. And I've never done long cycle clean and presses with the 28 so it definitely had my respect.

I thought I might just be able to do doubles for multiple sets when I got started but they were strong and easy and I wasn't sure how hard to push because I felt really good. Even after I did the top of the ladder I was thinking I was going back to 1 rep and start the ladder over but 4 was no issue.

Good to feel good.

and Tracy ROCKED her 16 kg press and her 20kg clean ladders. She will be pressing the 20 kg in the near future as she is with the 16 kg now. It's not if, it's when. I so love being able to train with her, and, as or more importantly on the same skill as her. It's a blast to see her get so strong on what she thought was a weakness ;))

EDIT: looking over the press video I see I really have to focus more on keep my thighs tight as I press as I was seriously leaking power there. I was focused on my glutes but still felt a bit wobbly and now I know why. Note to self.

Two Hand Clubbell arm cast

20 lbs x10/10
25 x8/8

these were strong and easy and fast.this is such great shoulder arm as well as pec and middle back work.

Two Hand Clubbell Shield cast
20 lbs x10/10
25 lbs x10/10

Grip and shoulders and arms cooked ! everything got tired fast now, lol.

Bodyblade laterals

3 sets of 8/8 and I'm out. perfect nothing left but never let intensity or quality fall.

datsit. Perhaps two cb swipes and max vo2 tomorrow as we leave for seattle thursday but I won't know till tomorrow.

Either way, I love to train :))

Sharpening the blade

Thanks to Boris of Squat RX for this. Time to train today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hardstyle; No apologies.

Ok, I'll admit it. In the past I've suffered from a bit of GS envy. In many ways, if I were still competing in anything( beside powerlifting) GS would be my choice. It just so appeals to my inner masochist as well as my desire to focus on a simple thing and Master it, in all it's subtleties and nuances.

You don't need a spotter, you don't need a training parter( not truly), and, like powerlifting, it is completely quantifiable. You have your numbers and you can hang on them. When powerlifters talk about their lifts it's like they are talking about their children. Don't mess with their numbers because they are completely hard won.

Powerlifters ( guys who get on platforms and compete in front of judges, THOSE powerlifters) KNOW that a 501 squat is NOT a 523 squat and would never take credit for it. Bodybuilders are notorious for " rounding off" their training poundages because that's not what their lifting is about; it's about their physique.

But powerlifters know better. And why in their mind gym lifts don't count. I've benched 490 in the gym but only 435 in a three lift competition. It's just not even close to the same thing( which is why the recent trend in GS comps- the ability to earn your ranking by video- is very disturbing to me) and I bet GS competitors feel this way too.

But the bottom line for me is that a ten minute test, hell even the 5 minute RKC test is basically an aerobic test more than anything and man I HATE that energy system. Plus my injured shoulder still doesn't like spending too much time resting in the overhead position and my knees and shoulder can't do jerks at all.

Brett Jones always jokes and says anything over 3 reps is cardio and I pretty much agree. Now I've done my share of running swimming and cycling and I do well with low intensity long duration IF the intensity is low. With anything high intensity I like to go hard, rest and repeat.

Also, GS is a SPORT and the key is to improve your numbers NOT to improve your physique or your strength and power, three things that are at the top of my list these days. Now that I'm not the physical wreck I was I LOVE being able to lift heavy(er) again, feel my muscularity improve and look like I can lift something.

Although there are many in GS with great physiques there are just as many with almost no muscle and great numbers, same as in powerlifting. I like muscle. There, I said it( yea, that's a surprise, I competed for 8 years in bodybuilding, big shock there.)

And Hardstyle training is about that as well. About strength, and power and speed and force and muscle. And true to my new resolution to train my strengths as well as my weak points I am done making any and all apologies for my lust for power, strength and muscle mass via Hardstyle!

If I need to pass my snatch test again I will just do it but I'm not going to torture myself with endless low intensity high rep sets. My inner masochist isn't that bad :))Especially these days.

Except for the clubbell swipes. For some reason I don't mind doing high rep sets with those. I can make one exception for something that's actually easier for me :))

And now, with the new techniques Tracy and I have developed for training the swing, snatch and cleans from the start position I can really let loose! I call this the Box Squat of KB ballistics because it works the same way: removing the stretch reflex from the lift and training starting strength, speed strength and power as well as working on perfecting form at the same time.

And it's COMPLETELY Hardstyle at it's roots. Love love love it :))

Low reps with max acceleration and multiple sets are where I am at these days and that's that. Hardstyle Strong.

Power to us indeed!

7 am

stretchout : 30 minutes

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5 + 5 transfers x2
20 kg x 5/5/5 x 2
24 kg x5/5/5x 2
28 kg x5/5
32 kg x5/5 x 8 sets

Nice. Haven't done this many one arms with the 32 in a long time.Not hammering my arms on thursday is the key.clubbell swipes and max vo2 with the 16 is not the same. perfect

Starting Strength Snatches
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x4/4
24 kg x3/3 x 5 sets

ok, these are way harder than I thought they would be. perfect.

Starting strength two hand swings
24 kg x5
28 kg x5
32 kg x5
36 kg x5

again, way harder than they look. more about these later when our dvd comes out.

Two Clubbell swings
2/ 10's x 20
2/ 15's x 15
2/ 20's x12
x 14
x 16
2/ 15's x 18

man I wanted to go up with the 20's for the 18 and then a 20 rep set but I was cooked and I knew it. When the bell speed slows down and power is down no sense in continuing.

20 minute cooldown stretchout and called it a day. Very pleased.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Swipes and Snatches

Had time to split up today's workout again and this is turning out to be really good for the intensity. I had a full hour to devote to my clubbell training, got my stretching in and still upped the snatch Vo2 ante when I got home. I do love training snatches in the garage with AC/DC blaring and the remnants of so many great workouts of the past lingering still in the platforms.

I shouldn't have felt strong today as my sleep is still off due to the time change but I was and of course I went with it. I didn't feel particularly strong as I started the workout but as per my rule; get things started, break a sweat and then decide.

Gravity was light today and I was strong. A nice combo. I also noticed my muscle size and density are really up of late and my leanness as well. My supplement combos are working well and I think I LOVE this new one recommended by Mike Mahler( bulbine natalensis) which helps increase natural test levels and lower estrogen. The Mag oil, the bulbine,more Vit D, and dhea are really helping this old horse get it's strength and recovery back as well.

Increasing arginine, green tea extract alpha lipoic acid and N Acetyl cysteine are doing wonders for recover as well. I love it when I can actually train hard AND recover. What a concept! Kinda like how I used to feel.

5:30 am
30 min stretchout

8 am

2 Clubbell rockits
10 lbs x 20 x2
15 lbs x 15 x 2
20 lbs x 10 x2

man these really get my legs burning fast! perfect for the warmup and very easy on my body.

2 Clubbell swings
10 lbs x 20 x2
15 lb x15 x2
20 lbs x 10 x2

all swings to parallel or just a bit above. love the elbow tractioning effect these give as well as the ease of shoulder packing.

2 Clubbell swipes
10 lbs x 20
x 30
15 lbs x 15
20 lbs x 10 x 3 sets
10 lbs x 50!!

These went way better than expected. I was planning on two sets of 15 with the 15 lber but after the first set I thought I better get to the 20's if I planned on doing them as the 15's were not easy at all.

BUT the 20's went much better than expected and instead of just one set of 10 I knocked off three! It's a LONG way from 100 reps but it's a solid start

AND the down set of 50 with the 10's was a very nice surprise as well. Hadn't counted on that but I felt so damn good ( haven't said that in ages)I didn't want to stop.

10 minute shoulder stretchout.

1 pm Snatch Vo2

had to get this thing going as my energy was taking a turn for the worst and I was getting hungry.

Snatch vo2
16 kg
25 sets of 6
5 sets of 7

30 sets total
185 reps

this was easy! my groove felt perfect and crisp and my cardio was definitely better than last week.that is one thing I have always observed with max vo2 training in myself and my clients is the incredibly rapid improvement that one can make even with just one workout a week.

I also had to demo a lot of level 2 skills with my last client and was pretty tight going into the workout or I would have just started with 7's. Very soon.

PLUS I get two whole days off before I have to train swings on saturday! Nice


Monday, March 14, 2011

2 minute long cycle sets

Did I mention I absolutely HATE daylight saving time? Well I do. I get up at 4 am regularly to be at work on time and my OCD brain usually wakes me up 30 minutes or more earlier so I won't miss the alarm( which I haven't set for years,lol).

This isn't too bad in the winter as it sits with my biological clock pretty well but when we "spring forward" it can get really ugly as my body still thinks it 3 am and I have to get going.

It was especially rough this morning as I had a two hour break due to cancellations and Tracy graciously told me she would train with me today so we can not be rushed as opposed to just the 50 minutes we have on Tuesdays.

Ok, so I get one less day of rest after Saturday's workout AND even less rest in the morning.Our 7 am start would actually be 6 am and although I am always talking about liking to train first thing that's a bit TOO early for me. Oh well.

Too early to train with the 32 kg or do long cycle with the 28kg but it should have been just right for the 24 kg and it was! Tracy wanted to test her 16 kg snatch work with two minute long sets so I thought I might give it a go as well with my long cycle clean and press.

I was thinking ONE set and I knew from before that 10 reps per side equaled two minutes but I didn't want that much fatigue so I decided to try switching hands every rep and see what happened.

What happened was that I ended up doing 4 sets of 2 minutes with the 24 kg and one set ( the initial one) with the 20 kg! All except for the third were done in the above fashion, switching every rep. With the third set I did sets of 5 each hand before switching and it was MUCH harder.

Have to say this is by far my favorite move,it's actually fun for me and I'm decently strong at it.

here's the break down

7- 7:30 stretchout
7:30 warmup
one arm swings
16 kg x5/5/5/ x 3
16 kg x5/5 x2

Long cycle clean and press
20 kg x 20 reps
24 kg x 18 reps
x 20
x20 ( done alternating in groups of 5)
x 20

Wow, I'm actually impressed with my self :)) SO, each set had 20 cleans, 20 presses and 20 transfers~! 60 reps, not Tracy-esque but decent. Now I just need to be able to do jerks and I can do some longer sets,lol.

Tracy rocked her 2 min long snatch sets averaging 57 reps per 2 minute block! Crazy hardstyle reps too.All legit of course. I have to try this sometime too. 2 minutes is NOT Ten,lol.

Two minutes is the threshold of activity that separates predominantly anaerobic work and aerobic work Anything over two minutes long and the energy mainly comes from aerobic sources. I wrote this article for Tracy's blog back in 2007 to explain why the two minute long sets that were her bread and butter back then were so effective at burning fat AND building muscle.

Two hand arm casts
15 lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x10/10
35 lbs x 10/10 !

the last set kicked my triceps ass and I thought, for just a second about another set but thought differently quickly

Two hand Shield Cast
15 lbs x10/10
20 lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x10/10

this was great fun as Tracy and I did them together. She's really having fun with her clubbell training and getting stronger by the workout. that's a 15 lb club she's using which is not joke. She is also noticing even more shoulder arm and upper back development from it

Bodyblade laterals

did 3 sets of 10/10, 8/8 and 7/7. Had no more, my shoulders were cooked!

datsit. Great fun

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Right tool for the job.

Let me preface this post by saying I thank God each and EVERY morning that I wake up without the horrific pain I have had for many years, especially the last two. Having something, like the ability to lift weight, do cool movements and tricks or have muscle pale in serious comparison to the basics of life; like spending five minutes trying to figure out how to get out of bed or put your shoes on without a hot,searing spike of pain stabbing you.

Little stuff like that. And when you can't walk how much you can squat or snatch becomes completely irrelevant very quickly.

BUT, as soon as that pain goes aways it's way too easy to forget that it was there. And that it can come back at any time for seemingly no reason.

So as my lost abilities remake their appearance and my ability to train again, harder, longer and do more things progresses I have to remember not to be greedy or take any of it too serious. The most important abilities are those that get us through life strongly and without pain. That's the real food of life. Everything else is icing on a cake that we don't need to survive. It's just fun.

I have specifically been digging my ability to do two hand swings again and especially my two clubbell work. So when I saw Mike Mahler do two KB swings outside his legs I immediately thought I might be able to do them too, given how strong and natural my two clubbell swings.

Mike even put up a video on Facebook for me to watch. Very cool.
The REAL danger with these is that it is very, very, very easy to hit your knees with the kettlebell and my knees are bad enough without smashing a fast moving cannonball into them but I seem to have good leverage for this movement with the clubs so I thought I would start light, give it a try and go from there.

I survived them but figured out right away they aren't for me and that if I want to swing something outside my legs the Clubbells are the right tool for the job. There is just way too little margin for error here and I don't have any more joints to sacrifice to the training gods. But it was a fun experiment nonetheless.

Here's today's workout

6:30- 7:00 am stretchout.
main emphasis today was on straddle stretching in three positions
1) one the floor basic straddle stretch
2) standing straddle working wider as well as head to floor
3) standing straddle stretch working to side splits( a few galaxies to go here but this is a brand new move and I LOVE it already! This is an adductor strengthener as well as a serious quad contraction for me.
This will stay in the mix.

8 am

Two clubbell rockits
2/ 10 lbs x 20 x2
2/ 15 lb x 15 x 2
2/ 20 lbs x 10 x 2

two clubbell swings
2/10's x 20x 2 sets
2/ 15's x 15
2/ 20's x10 x 2

These all felt great and were the perfect warmup! NO back, knee or other issues. very happy with this and felt seriously strong in all the movements.Love the quad and glute work these give.

Two KB outside the leg swings
2/12kg x15
2/14 kg x15
2/16 kgx10
2/20kgx15 x 2

here's some video of the last set

OK, now onto something safer,lol. I really got some serious leg work with the rockits so I thought I would apply the same work to one of my favorite RKC/HKC swing prep drills :the low hover/pendulum swing. I've been wanting to work this up in weight and see how it felt and today, with my training partner Nick out of town, it seemed like a good time to experiment and play.

Low hover/pendulum swings
20 kg x 15
24 kg x 12
28kg x 10
32 kg x 10

these worked great! I could have done more but with all the new stuff I was trying today I didn't want to push it (more than I already have,lol). One nice thing is with this smaller ROM I can handle more reps more easily. Nice.

These seem like a wider stance, more stable rockit.

It's also great to hear Tracy in the background saying "ok, 100",lol. Tracy's work capacity is insane. They did 1000 swings today in 3o minutes! Now that's Hardstyle.

here's the 28 kg set

Hike pass two hand swing drill

20kg x10 singles
24 kg x10 singles
28 kg x10 singles
32 kg x5 singles x 3 sets

WOW, this is my new favorite two hand swing exercise and suits my strengths for change. It's pure starting strength, speed strength and the power squat/ good morning position.Plus I get to reset every time and this makes it feel much safer on my back.
It's also one HELL of a lat exercise and I have to make sure to stretch them out after each workout.
This one is in Tracy and my new DVD on Mastering the Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing so I can't go into any more details until it comes out but people,especially guys, are going to love this. You can go heavy and still get the endurance.But in a totally different way.

It's like the box squat of kettlebell swings! Just remember, I said it here first, lol.

One arm shield cast
10 lbs x10/10, 15 lb x10/10, 20 lbs x 8/8
one arm arm cast
10 lb x10/10, 15 lb x10/10, 20 lbs x8/8

I don't think I'm going to do one arm cast work for awhile. This always seems to worry my elbows and the two I don't any elbow issues.It's also so very strong for me that I tend to end up pushing it and I don't need the temptation. Two hand casts and swipes are great.

Two Hand Shield cast ladder
15 lbs x10/10
25 lb x5/5

20 minute stretchout.

My hammies were getting seriously toasty so I spent the time opening them back up. Very glad I did. This seems to be the key to my progressions of late, balancing the workload and intensity with an equal amount of stretching and mobility work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

" I love the smell of training first thing in the morning"

With apologies to Apocalypse Now.

It's such a luxury for me to be able to train first thing after I get up.ESPECIALLY if I also have time to stretch out first and then get to the heavy stuff.I used to organize my life around my workouts and now I organize my workouts are my work.

I am,after all, after all these 54 years, a grownup, and I have to do what's most important for my family and our future first. But on days like these when I get the luxury of taking care of myself first don't think I don't appreciate it.

SO even though my first client wasn't until 8 am I was in the gym at 6 for a solid hour of stretching and mobility before hitting the first workout of the day at 7. Yes, the first workout because I also had two clients traveling at the end of the work day which meant I could further intensify my training while enhancing my recovery by splitting the workload in half.

I had clubbell swipes and snatch vo2 on the menu today and decided to do clubs first as they are easier for me and on my body.

6-7 am stretchout.

the usual suspects. all pieces in their respective places. relatively :))

7-8 am Clubbell swipes
CB swing warmups
(2) 10 lb clubs x 20 swings x 3 sets
(2) 10 lb clubs x 10 pendulums x 2 sets ( equiv to a KB clean)

(2) 10 lbs x 10 reps
x 20 reps
x 30 reps
(2) 15 lbs x 15 x 5 sets!!

Wow, just back to this movement and this was a big increase in workload from last week. AND it felt great. This is such a natural movement to me as well as playing to my strengths. I can see I will have to by a second 25 lb club as I really want to set a long term goal of 100 continuous swipes with the 25 lbers.

Like I said a LONG TERM goal but I know it's possible. Like I've also said lately, time to work my strength as well as my weaknesses.

The kb swing and snatch immediately reminded me of swinging on high bar as a gymnast. The Clubs, especially this move make me feel like I am on parallel bars :))

This move also translates well for me to my KB moves as it reinforces what my natural lumbo pelvic rhythm is. As with everything I do I have to think "backwards". Here that means if I lean forward my hips go back.
If I just sit back I don't get my hips into the right position OR my back. As I said backwards.

I wanted to do more, a lot more but it was such a big jump from last week I knew better but I still had time but wanted to save snatches for later so:

One arm swings

16 kg x5/5/5/5 x2
20 kg x5/5/5/5 x 2
24 kg x5/5/5/5 x 2

just about right. even this little bit of swings got me sweating way more than the clubs. they are just easier for me. it's nice to finally have something that is ;))

1:30 pm Stones Gym

Snatch Vo2

16 kg x 25 sets of 6 reps ON THE CLOCK ,lol.
150 reps

Used the damn gym boss and immediately remembered a few things:

1) just how stinking hard this protocol is, even with this light weight
2) just how short 15 seconds rest time is
3) just how out of shape for this I am. 80 sets of 8 is a long way off but doable for sure.
4) why I used to have to have two 16 kg and four or five towels. This makes me sweat like I was in a Bikrams class.

My snatch groove felt great though and speed was fine. I took up the entire 15 seconds with overhead holds if I was ahead which I wasn't always. trying to breathe took up some time too.

But I also remembered just how well this protocol suits me with using just low reps( even 8 is low) , only one arm at a time and a real focus on power and acceleration, my favorites. This schedule is going to work fine and shouldn't impact my two hand swing work on saturday.

I might play with protocol though alternating weights with the 20 kg and perhaps even the 24 and dropping just the reps, just seeing what I can get for 15 second with the proper power output.
Just as in WSB when bell ( or bar) speed drops, you're done for the day. No slogging through reps here. Just fast, crisp and powerful. I also think I am going to shoot for 50 sets as my goal number not 80. that's just too damn long to stand in one place :))

Also, hard to believe this only took 12 minutes! KB's rock.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

28 kg Short cycle presses, Speed work

I've been so enamored with the long cycle clean and press lately that I really haven't been wanting to sacrifice the one day a week I give to press to the short cycle. That's always been my strength, (just the press please:)) but I'm really happy to be able to train long cycle.

But the long cycle definitely makes the press easier so if I want my press to get better I must train it strictly in short cycle as well.Especially if I am not going to use other press variations and special exercises to make it stronger either.

Last week's max effort took a bit more out of my shoulders than I thought, not in an injury way, but from a muscle fatigue and CNS perspective.
I thought briefly about playing with the 32 kg today ,just for singles, I thought, but then immediately thought better of it,remembering the next step off of a peak is always down and last week was definitely a peak.

So it was back to the 28 kg, my new foundation day to day weight but for only doubles, as I wanted no grinding at all. Just work on starting and speed strength.

The question was how many total sets and as usual the answer wouldn't be know until I picked up a bell to warmup But the first number that came to mind was ten.
It was a good guess :))

6-7 am Stretchout.

Today was good, nothing significantly tight or out of balance. The usual stretches, starting with the foam roller, into up and down dog, bretzells, hamstring strap stretches as well as adductor strap stretches into straddle sits and standing straddle forward bends.

Standing overhead stick stretches, overhead bar stretches and back over ball back bends with yoga grip as well as the stick( a new invention), then into hip openers, squat patterns ( amosov squats) and ankle mobility.

one arm swing warmups
16 kg x5/5/5/5 x3

Short cycle press
16 kg x5/5, 3/3
20 kg x3/3
24 kg x 2/2, 1/1

28 kg x 2/2 x 10 sets!

felt warmed up about set eight,lol. The video above is set five and I was just starting to have some total body cooperation and a semblance of starting strength.The pace was very fast, alternating with Tracy as she did the same workout. It's so nice to see that her press strength, not to mentions shoulder and arm development , have come along so well from following this simple but rigorous in it's own way, routine of mine.

Should be using the 32 kg next week but it's the week before a crazy long weekend up in Seattle: Friday RKC Re Cert, Saturday HKC and Sunday: Lats the Super Muscles seminar. Oh yeah and my normal clientel on Monday,lol.

Better take it easy next week :))

Two Hand CB Swipes
15 lb x5/5
25 lb x 5/5
35 lb x 5/5 x 3 sets

wow! that was fun! I actually like the thicker handle and shorter clubhead design of the 35 lber more than the longer barrelled 25 lber. Just moves better for me and these were not that hard. Just was running out of time before my client came in and didn't want to tweak anything.
Lots more where that came in and I like the balance of the short cycle work with the long cycle two hand armcast/swipe.
Symmetrical :))

Bodyblade laterals
2 sets of 7/7

outa time!( one hour)


Snatch VO2 and CB two bell swipes!


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Drill. Practice.

Shooting the swing video last week really got me thinking about the progressions and drills we use everyday as we teach the basic swing and it's variations. Doing them for the shoot made it very clear as well just how tough they can be and how hard they can work you.

Last week I just used a 16 kg for the drills and immediately thought how really tough they would be with heavier loads. Today I found out, lol.

I started out with some light snatches first, as I've discovered that I am not staying upright long enough as the bell descends and I am feeling 'top heavy' in my snatch form. It never is a mistake to go back and focus on practicing rather than training and it's been awhile since I've done that in the snatch.

I started out watching myself in the mirror and tried to stay "tall while it falls" and break into the hinge as late as possible; standard advice for others making the same mistake as I have been and guess what? It worked. Almost immediately I was balanced over my base and I didn't feel 'pulled over' as I have been. I also looked straight ahead rather than down and this helped as well.

The body goes where the head goes and the head goes where the eyes go so trying to avoid early flexion it would make sense to keep my head up more


Snatch practice

16 kg x 8/8 x3
20 kg x8/8 x 3

I experimented with a corkscrew descent and the over the top RKC hardstyle and decided it made no difference in the degree of flexion. What mattered was NOT flexing early no matter what the arm technique on the descent. Keep the glutes tighter longer.

KB deadlift
24 kg x10
28 kg x10
32 kg x10
36 kg x8

again, just drilling the basic hinge postition and hardstyle lockout at the top, keeping the quads zipped up, glutes tight,lats engaged and feet rooted.

Hike pass swing drill

This is a new drill that Tracy and I developed for the DVD so I won't go into all the details yet but it's based on the hike pass
I started with the 16 kg and worked up to to the 32 kg for sets of 10-5. It really develops tremendous starting strength and power and completely reinforces the perfect hip hinge and swing position. I love it!

16 kg x10
20 kg x10
24 kg x10
28 kg x10
32 kg x5 x 2 sets

Double KB swings
(2) 10 kg x10
(2) 12 kg x 10
(2) 16 kg x8 x 2
( 2) 20 kg x 8 x 2

wow, I haven't EVER really done this drill in a workout as I haven't been able to tolerate bi-lateral moves for over 5 years now. First two hand swings and now doubles. Most awesome :))
But, I don't think it will be a standard move yet as I have to go so wide to clear the doubles it makes it a very small ROM with way too wide a sumo position.

But it was cool to know that I can now DO it. Nice.

I do think I have to switch Thursdays workout to Wednesday as my arms are just not recovering from any kind of volume on Thursday to allow heavy one arm work on Saturday.

Thinking about letting go of snatching anything other than max vo2 on wednesday after my clubbell swipe workout.That will give me two days to recover for Saturday where I should be doing heavy one arm swings, two hand swings and perhaps some snatch holds.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

Snatches and swipes

Had a cancellation at 8 this morning so I got to train first thing again. What a present. Went in early and also got a full hour stretchout which always makes me feel much better all day than if I don't. Tuesday's little press marathon didn't rock me at all but my shoulders were tighter than usual and stretched out reluctantly.

8 am warmup
one arm swings 16 kg x5/5/5/5

16 kg x5/5 x2

20 kg x5/5
x 10/10
x 12/12
x 8/8
142 reps
6248 lbs

these felt easy but my snatch form is not optimal. I still feel it relies too much on my back strength and while it works I don't like how it feels or looks. I have to play with it more.

CB Rockits
10's x 20 x 2
15 x 15
20's x12 x 2

CB swipes
10's x 20
x 30
x 20

95 reps
these are starting to feel like the old days. I have a lot of potential with this movement for both strength and endurance; and in keeping with my new philosophy of exploiting my strengths as well as strengthening my weaknesses I will work it hard.

day off tomorrow and then two hand swings and some more snatches on Saturday.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

40 Years of Training, 54 years and 54 reps.

Although I turn 54 years old today I am much more excited about this being my fortieth anniversary of the start of my training journey than anything. I started training gymnastics, pretty much full time, at age 14 at the start of my freshman year of high school.

I was immediately captured, in love with this new way of movement and the stength, power and grace it required and displayed.Not to mention the physique it created. Everyone looked like Superman and I wanted to as well.

I trained from 2 pm until 6 pm Mon- Fri right from the start and never had one thought, ever, that what I was doing was work. It was play but it was more than that too. It was a gift, a blessing to be able to spend that much time, completely out of time, in the flow, learning and doing so much cool stuff every single second of my practice.

And so I do turn 54 today and can easily say I am in the best physical condition I have been in in the last 15 years. I am virtually out of pain, can move better, walk better,am stronger, more flexible,mobile, stable and am as lean as I have been in all that time.

And I may not need a knee replacement after all.

From 6 years ago when all I could use to train was the single arm swing and snatch holds and getting up out of chair was torture to today when I can one arm or two hand swing, snatch, press, do handstands, pullups, pushups and even some squatting without pain. With more coming every day.

When John DuCane titled my DVD from the Level 2 Seminar/lecture 'Restoring Lost Physical Function' he hit the nail on the head. That is exactly what my journey has been about and it has been getting better and better each and every year even though there has been some serious setbacks and pain.

I not only trained but competed for 31 years, stopping only in 2003 when I was forced to give up even bench press competitions. There really was no point anymore; I was in constant pain and everything hurt. Training, competing, living.

So I dug into my rehab like I had my training and was as obsessed with restoring my lost abilities as I had my Olympic dreams and my hopes for and Elite ranking, at anything. The first thing that had to go was the luxury of testing myself, pushing myself, seeing what I could do.

At ANYTHING. I could get hurt getting out of bed and the slightest wrong move left me in agony. For years I had had one foot on the gas and another on the break and that is no way to train for anything.

I spent my workouts trying NOT to get hurt instead of working towards progress. That had to stop.

SO, no SSST test, no RKC snatch test, no maxing out on ANYTHING. No testing anything. to my competitors soul this was the greatest torture, the greatest loss. To not be able to push myself, test myself against other I KNEW I was at least as good as, or better was humbling.

To have to stand back and not show others what I was made of was humiliating. But I had no choice. I knew the consequences of being what I call "greedy" and they were not good. Instead of pushing to the max to see what lie on the other side I always held back because " the next step off a peak is always down".

So when I got back from the DVD shoot this weekend, after spending 12 hours standing barefoot on concrete and demo'ing deads and swings and drills and corrections and then told Tracy I wanted to do something 'special' to commemorate my 54th birthday I knew I "was back".

The long cycle clean and press has become my favorite move, in keeping with my new philosophy in working my strong points as well as my weaknesses and reveling in them, and I wanted to do something with that.

From not being able to press anything from 2005 to 2008 to building it back up very, very, very slowly to now feeling safe and secure when I press and able to really push myself again is a miracle. Pressing is what I am built for, what I have trained all my life, since I was 14 and what I am strongest at.

My shoulders are still fragile and I can't be stupid but I will enjoy this now.

SO I thought about the 24 kg, 53 pounds and doing 54 reps with that but didn't think I wanted that much of a challenge. Plus, I wanted something that would be hard but I knew I could do. I didn't want to fail.

No sense in starting the year out that way.
So the 20 kg it was, 54 reps per arm? Nah. 27 and 27 each arm for a total of 54?

Yeah. Of course I have NEVER done more than 10 reps in the kb press and that is very recent.

But I have been feeling so confident in my pressing that all I could think of was that I did 33 close grip pushups with a 100 lb plate on my back and that 27 was less than that.

Long story long. I killed it and it was the perfect challenge and the perfect weight.

here's the breakdown

6-7 am: stretchout focused on overhead stretching

8:30 am

one arm swings
16 kg x5/5/5/5 x3
one arm cleans
16 kg x5/5 x2

long cycle clean and press
16 kg x5/5
16 kgx 3/3
20 kg x3/3

go time:

Long Cycle Clean and Press
20 kg x 27/27 all time PR

Started with the left arm and cruised through the first 19. 20 was the first hard rep and 21-27 were very challenging. Especially to stay calm mentally . The right arm started off so fresh I had to purposely slow the pace down as I just wanted to get it over with, lol.

This side got tough at 15 when I started making strange sounds to force the exhale harder and get more air. I recalled this is the noise I made when I used to bike race and had to climb long steep hills. It just comes out and it ain't pretty but neither I am. It kept me going.

As did my Queen, who counted for me and provided the most important inspiration to me; her presence and her support, and her unending belief that I can do anything I set my mind to. Love you, my sweet.

Nice way to start this year.

Clubbell rockits
10's x 20x2
15's x 15
20's x 12 x 2

man these COOK the quads. yes, another score . haven't been able to do these either forever.

Clubbell Swipes
10 lbs x 25,20, 15
15 lbs x 17, 15, 12

can't believe I once did 300 of without stopping! But I know I can train this move again and that's all that counts..

Datsit. Wow, what a great day.